Unprepared. Yes, you’ve read it well. I – the ultimate control freak – once went on a citytrip without preparing one little thing. I hadn’t read a single travel guide, hadn’t looked up any attractions or sights to see or hadn’t really made any planning before I boarded my plane to the capital of sunny Portugal back in May 2013.
Of course there is a big but to this. I wasn’t going to discover this city on my own. The reason I went to Lisbon was also the reason why I went unprepared. I was visiting a friend who was staying in that city for a few month on an Erasmus study so just like that I had the perfect guide right by my side.
Up until now I still don’t know whether I’ve seen all of Lisbon’s sights, but I do know that I had an amazing and unforgetable four days in this gorgeous city. Three years later, I still look back on it with a longing to go back one day, but at the same time there are many memories that I hold on to from my first time in Lisbon. Here are my three favorites.
3. Capturing the Portuguese flag at Parque Eduardo VII
Whenever I visit a city, I always try to find some rest in the public city parks during my stay. When my friend mentioned that we were heading for Parque Eduardo VII, I was happy that I was also going to be able to do this in Lisbon. I do love me some green.
But this park is nothing like the city parks I had seen before. The central lane of the park is a view I’ll never forget. It’s so pleasing on the eye with its structure and lush green bushes. I loved it!
On the northern top of Parque Eduardo VII, you can also find the largest Flag of Portugal of the world. And it’s quite impressive. I’ll never forget trying to capture the perfect picture of this flag all the while enjoying the beautiful park. A place you can’t miss whenever visiting Lisbon.
2. The devine taste of the Pastéis de Belém
Whenever I think back to my time in Lisbon, there is one thing that immediately comes to my mind; the delicious Pastéis de Belém. Pastéis de Belém, or Pastel de nata, is a typical Portuguese egg tart pastry which was created before the eighteenth century by catholic monks at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (which is also a must visit when in Lisbon!).
The place to get them is in Belém itself, close to the Monastry. You can’t miss the shop as there is always a queue but the wait is definitely worth it. They are so good. I’d fly back to Lisbon just to taste another one.
1. Strawberries and the view on the 25th of April Bridge and Lisbon city
If there is one thing that I adore it’s strawberries. And whenever the weather is nice and the sun is out, I’m content just eating a few of those berries while enjoying the lovely weather. So you can only imagine that when it promised to be a lovely day in Lisbon and I passed the fruit aisle in the supermarket, I just couldn’t help myself. I bought myself some strawberries, hoping that during the day I’d find a bench somewhere to enjoy my favorite fruit.
My friend had already been trying to find time to cross the water to visit the Santuário Nacional de Cristo Rei, but until then she hadn’t succeeded. Apparently the view from there was really nice, so with the blue sky greeting us, we decided to head for the Christ statue and see what it had to offer. The statue itself is nothing spectacular, but the view on the 25th of April Bridge and the city of Lisbon is so breathtakingly beautiful. I just couldn’t tear myself away. The bridge itself made me think of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge right away, which made it easy to start daydreaming.
I couldn’t have dreamed of a better place to devour those fresh, sweet strawberries. It’s forever my favorite moment of my citytrip to Lisbon. And now we’re coming full circle because as you’re reading this, I’m roadtripping the South-West of USA and finally seeing the big brother of this bridge below.
What’s your favorite travel memory in Lisbon or any other city?
Until next time,
With love, Ellen